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The Christmas countdown is on

Living

The Dad Diary
Edwin McGreal

Frankie turned three last month and is starting to wake up to the magic of Christmas. She has made no demands yet from Santa Claus for presents – that will be another year away – but she is definitely twigging that the jolly red man whose image is all over our Christmas decorations is a force for good in her world.
As a big child myself, I’m always surprised to hear some parents say, ‘Ah ye will be dealing with it for long enough’. Personally, I can’t wait for Frankie and Éamon to be consumed by the magic. They’ll be long enough being too big for it.
I’m sure if Frankie had her wits about her she would be asking Santa for loads of Peppa Pig stuff and plenty of surprises. I might have a word with the Big Man myself to arrange all of that.
But she is loving the build up, feeding off everyone’s excitement.
Éamon is quite taken by all the changes in the house too, fascinated by the tree that has just appeared in the sitting room, amazed by the cuddly Santa and snowman that are twice his size and wondering what all the fuss is about.
The two of them are both making big steps forward in their development, and it is lovely to anticipate Christmas with them.
Just this month too, all of a sudden, Éamon has taken to reading in a big way. He never appeared to show much interest in books, but last weekend when I started reading one of Frankie’s books to him, he was fascinated. He sat for 20 minutes as we went through a series of kids’ books. Trust me, a 15 month old sitting for 20 minutes is a rare feat.
The gift of reading could be the best Christmas present of all.
Frankie likes books but is usually too busy to sit down and have a book read to her for more than two minutes.
Aged three now her personality is really starting to shine through. She is a very strong character, very independent and very social. All of which are great, except she has started to become very headstrong too and this is a major problem at night time.
She used to be a dream to put to bed, but now she won’t settle until you sing to her. The alternative, trying to argue and reason with a tired three year old, usually ends in tears – both Frankie’s and either my own or Aisling’s, depending on who is putting her down – and runs the considerable risk of waking Éamon.
If she was a bit older I could warn her that Santa is watching and doesn’t bring presents to little girls who won’t go to sleep.
Hopefully that is one habit she will grow out of quickly. Or I’ll need to write to Santa myself, asking for singing lessons.

In his fortnightly column, Edwin McGreal charts the ups and downs of the biggest wake-up call of his life: parenthood.